Title: The Dukes of Hazzard
Release Date: 2005
Nationality and Language: USA/Australia, English
Running time: 106 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributor and Production Company: Warner Brothers / Village Roadshow Pictures / Gerber Pictures
Director; Writer: Jay Chandraskehar
Cast: Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, Burt Reynolds, Charlie Finn
Technical: Full Panavision 2.3 to 1
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You spend $53 million for a full studio release and touch on a number of issues. But you don’t explore them, you don’t even satirize them or slight them. You just have a non-sequential series of gags. This is a sort of modern Hulot’s Holiday. I don’t usually dedicate a full page review to a stereotyped franchise comedy like this, but this movie touches so many delicious civil liberties issues.
A lot if made of the fact that this movie is a takeoff of the 70s television franchise by the same name, with the comedy and car chases. (Oh, yes, Hollywood, the enemy, counts on formula comedies to underscore the bottom line.) But what interests me here is the importance of some of the issues.
Let’s even have a geography lesson first, based on that episode of The Apprentice where “Andy” designed a coke bottle after a globe. There is a Hazard, Kentucky, in the heart oc coal country. (One ‘z’). The credits say much of this film was shot in Louisiana, but I don’t find a town by that name there. The city scenes – did I see the Melbourne, Australia skyline instead of Atlanta? After all, Village Roadshow is an Australian production company.
The first issue is a biggie—civil asset forfeiture. The Dukes lose their farm to asset forferiture when they are caught by Sheriff Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds) making moonshine. (Translate that to marijuana, or maybe crystal meth today). Yes, the government can take your property and assets if used to produce illegal drugs. It happens all the time. But maybe this is a ruse for eminent domain, which the Supreme Court ruled on in 2005. The Sheriff just doesn’t want to compensate the victims. So here there is a lesson about the danger of the abuse of government. Libertarians would have wanted a lot more parody.
Then there is the environmental issue. The government wants to sell the land to strip miners. In one scene geology student Royce (Charlie Finn) shows a picture of three strip mines on a computer, but two of these are actually open pit copper mines. One of them may be the Bryce mine in West Virginia. The movie builds to an artificial “courtroom drama” climax to railroad the stripmine through until the Dukes arrive.
There is also racial and minority humor, some of it inappropriate. There are “Appalachian Americans.” There is a scene where the Duke arrive in a black community with their faces smeared with coal dust, as if to emulate “Black Like Me.”
Now Seann William Scott, who hails from the Twin Cities, MN, is absolutely cute, just as he was as Steve Stiffler in American Wedding. You see those muscular, hairy arms all the time, but in this movie he never has the chance to take off his shirt (or trousers). Virile, masculine comedy seems to be all that he does. His sidekick, played by Johnny Knoxville, is much less enticing. Nevertheless, in one campus scene a gay man whistles at them.
There is a sidebar on eminent domain. Apparently, anti eminent domain activists are trying to get Supreme Court Justice David Souter’s home in New Hampshire expropriated for an inn.
The 40 Year-Old Virgin (aka “The Forty Year-Old Virgin”) (2005, Universal, dir. Judd Apatow, written by Judd Apatow and Steve Carell) is supposed to be the “par excellence” 50s-derivative situation comedy about a late bloomer. Yes, Steve Carell himself (42 as of the time of the film’s premiere in August 2005) plays a 40-year-old home electronics salesman who has never had sexual intercourse, so, by definition, never had SIBM (that was what we called the forbidden “sexual intercourse before marriage” in Army barracks in the Vietnam-era days). As Carell said himself in an NBC “Today” show interview, there’s noting weird about the character; somehow it just never happened. So we get to set up “la grande comedie.”
Now the media (including Universal itself—by the way, the bombastic corporate trademark was used, making me expect “The 4400”) makes a lot of the depilation scene (almost as if it were the Immolation Scene from Gottedamerung), in previews and various newspaper and transit ads, where Carell’s chest is a “man-o-lantern.” It seems that he went into the scene as hairy as Robin Williams. An oriental girl applies the wax strips several times (including once over the right teat), and then pulls, and it hurts. They talked about this on “Today” where Carell said that it was humiliating, and then told the interviewer to “back off.” Yes, they really put him through this tribunal, and it took two months to grow back. In fact, it does so just in time for his nuptials and consummation (he never does have SIBM). Now this has happened a few times before in the movies: as in “What Women Want,” (the legs, then), or to Troy McClain (the legs again) on The Apprentice (for “the Team,” a self-sacrifice that made Donald Trump’s book, How to Get Rich. There are comic opportunities missed here; for later on he strips himself to the man-o-lantern look, when it would have been better to let the female trick undress him (she actually proposed mutual shaving, in the spirit of The Dreamers). Bazhe would mention this a bit when he goes into drag in his book Damages.
Now he has sidekicks at the store: David (Paul Rudd), Cal (Seth Rogen), and Jay (Romany Malco). Jay, an African-American, makes the suggestion that he get waxed, when noticing the fur over his collar (only managers wear ties, it seems). I think most women would probably disagree with the advice, actually. Apart from all of this, the movie tends to lapse into a sequence of gags. One date vomits shellfish sandwiches on him. David tries to take a picture of his own butt in the store with a camcorder (no Jim Carry needed here). There are lots of vulgar jokes, and one sequence where David and Cal find reasons to call the other gay. Yet, the rather large audience was laughing most of the time.
Capital One has a commercial that embraces the Man-O-Lantern device: comedian David Spade opens up a poor victims shirt, tapes a mike on, and then strips it off. Filmmakers beware!
The man-o-lantern appearance might happen medically, as after a stress electrocardiograph or Holter monitor heart monitor test, where good contact with the leads is required. It might happen to astronauts, too (like a scene in "Apollo 13").
The devious mind of Ashton Kutcher will punk us again with “Beauty and the Geek 2” and specifically one of the geeks will become a man-o-lantern, according to the previews. Well, from the latest previews for the Feb. 2 2006 show, all five of the remain geeks will become man-o-lanterns. That is, undergo humiliation. The two that were already eliminated (Tyson and Brandon) are the lucky ones. The five contestants will have to carry on nevertheless. Men aren’t supposed to look like men anymore. As history would have it, two of the men “got it” and they will have to be revealed at strip poker on Feb. 9.
Purveyors of this movie will note with glee that tennis star Andre Agassi waxes or shaves everything -- not just his scalp (that may be natural), but his chest, legs, even his forearms. Welcome to Saturday Night Live!
The title of this film has a certain irony, when one considers the Hollywood practice of having grown men in their 20s play teenagers who seem too mature for their ages to be believed (because they are!). There is probably more than just one waxed chest in Tinseltown for this purpose.
This film seems to have motivated a Snickers candy bar ad. Two men are chewing on the same candy bar, about to kiss, when they withdraw, open their shirts and each do a "manly" thing by pulling out chest hair. GLAAD protested this ad.
USA Network, in its "characters welcome" ads, promotes the rerun of the movie by saying that Steve Carrell loses both his virginity and his chest hair.
On Saturday, May 12, 2007, Neely Tucker wrote a story "Not Wild About Hairy: Nowadays Guys Are Getting Something off Their Chest, and Back," here. The article contains a shot of the chest waxing scene on Carell in this movie. She mentions the idea that during the 50s, for Caucasian men, body hair was considered a sign of virility that should not be removed. (Blacks, Orientals, and Native Americans usually have much less-- the World Book Encyclopedia in 1950 used the terms "profuse" and "sparse".) In ancient Greece, the smooth body with a full head of hair was the idea, which is sometimes mimicked in the gay community or among straight "metrosexuals" (and on daytime soap operas, especially "Passions"). Of course, with competitive swimmers and cyclists depliation has long been accepted and expected, as in other sports like football where tape is used. (And remember John Travolta as a "ballerina" in "Staying Alive" (1985); nobody wanted to talk about it. More recently, at least two of the geeks in "Beauty and the Geek" got it in a makeover (and an African American beauty told one of the geeks that he should always keep his chest shaved, right there on TheWB), as did one of the candidates in "The Apprentice".) Sometimes military or college hazing involves forced shavings. The Nazis shaved all the body hair of concentration camp prisoners in order to humiliate them and remove their sense of individuality. And balding legs sometimes means serious circulatory problems, associated, for example, with cigarette smoking or with diabetes. See also the discussion of David Skinner "Notes on the Hairless Man" in The Weekly Standard (1999), here. Men without chests? "We are rapidly becoming a nation of men without chest hair," at least in the movies, he says. And for about eight years now, salons have been offering (and advertising on morning news shows) laser treatments to make it a "permanent", though the bill can get into the thousands.
The Aug. 27, 2007 issue of Newsweek has, on p 13, a Periscope sidebar "Looks: A Manly Comeback" about men wanting to reverse metrosexuality by transplanting hair from their heads back to their chests.
On April 17, 2008 ABC "Good Morning America" female hosts discussed male "cleavage" and one of the gals said that men who wax their chests make better husbands because they know what women go through. She really said that! Honest!
On April 24, 2008, Harrison Ford (now 65) got his chest waxed on camera on NBC's "Access Hollywood" in order to make a political argument about deforestation of areas around the world, especially the Amazon, in relation to global warming. (See the story on this spectacle here.) He never seemed to have any chest hair in the early Star Wars movies, so this is recent. Is this an inspiration for a series of disco-related fund raisers?
On March 27, 2009 Ashton Kutcher got his chest waxed on Access Hollywood (he didn't have that much to lose), in order to match his stunt double. Oh yes, on camera.
My Date with Drew (2003, DEJ/Lucky Crow, dir. Jon Gunn and Brian Herzlinger, 90 min, PG, Website). First for a quote: “If you don’t take risks, you’ll have a wasted soul,” from Drew Barrymore, a child actress in The E.T. 27-year-old Brian Herzlinger wins $1100 in a game show, and spends it to win a date with (female) Drew Barrymore and to make the lowest budget feature film in history. He “borrows” a camcorder from a Circuit City store on a friend’s VISA card. Then he uses the chain of “degrees of separation” to approach Drew with the final success with a date in the Mexican Grille restaurant in New York City (most of the film is shot in L.A.) Along the way there are numerous fitness training and grooming sessions. Now here the movie sounds like lightning striking twice, accidentally mimicking The 40 Year-Old Virgin (Brian’s movie was made first). He asks some other female friends whether he should get his chest and even his arms waxed (remember John Travolta in Staying Alive?) and in one midpoint session they pull up his shirt and tease his body with tweezers (that you couldn’t get past the TSA). But his bod will survive such humiliations. Actually, his appearance is quite striking: his chin just a little thick, but with fitness training he can become super macho man, which may not be to his taste. After all, this movie is PG-13. A major part of the denouement of this movie is the setting up of his Internet domain (a process that I remember right after publishing my own books) and dealing with the DNS errors. He even has to burn a DVD at the last minute (a problem for me on the iMac) or find one that he gave out. The end of the movie is much happier than Everwood’s “A Moment in Manhattan.” There is something off-putting, however, about the likeable hero of a movie bragging about his poverty, inability to pay bills, and desperation to meet one queen.
Meet Bill (2007, First Look / Greenestreet, dir. Bernie Goldman and Melissa Wallack). Aaron Eckart, as Bill, saves his career by being mentored by 15 year old "Kid" Logan Lerman. This movie has "all that body shaving", self-inflicted. Remember Skinner's "Notes on the Hairless Man" from the June 1999 Weekly Standard. Blogger.
My One and Only (2009, Freehand Releasing/Herrick dir. Richard Loncraine. Logan Lerman plays George Deveraux as a precocious teen who takes care of his gay older brother (Mark Rendall) and mother (Renee Zellweger) on a road trip after separating from the bandleader husband Kevin Bacon, now grizzled. Blogger.
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton (2004, Dreamworks, dir. Robert Luketic, wr Victor Levin, 95 min, PG-13). At one point look-a-like rivals actor Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel) and Peter (Topher Marsh) pair off splitting wood on Tad's recently purchase Almost Heaven Wild 'n' Wonderful West Virginia farm. "You work out?" Pete asks. "Naw." Now, both boys have artificially waxed baby-oil smooth chests ("thmooth") with nice rounded nearly womanish pecs -- this version of "Another Straight Movie" (or "Another Bad Movie" -- I reserve that compliment for the "losers") takes metrosexuality to the point that the boys' hides and the girls' skins are the same. (Arms, chests, legs -- they follow the elder Andre Agassi. They have no Tour de France to win.) There is no biological reason to mate; the boys and girls are no longer opposites. Hairlessness and depilation -- as a fetish cult -- has taken over the evil enemy Hollywoodland. (That wood-chopping scene, and the clip of the song "Why Can't I Dream?" make up the TV quick previews for this flick.) Better for Tad to pair off with the persistent gay motel clerk (played by Sam Pancake) who looks more manly. (In fact, Tad has a major verbal confrontation with his straight male look-a-like rival Pete when he is sitting on the pot in an open stall, hairless thighs exposed in a most embarrassing shot, and passers-by really think something is going on; there is a chance for physical comedy here.) West Virginia looks all too loverly here; the film gives nary a hint that maybe seventy miles away there are the Bryce mountaintop removal stipmines. (There is a spectacular shot of the New River Gorge bridge, near the Tygart dam.)
This film cost 24000 times as much to make as the "Drew" movie, above; the plot is a mirror image. Small town girl (that was the name of a 50s movie with no DVD yet!) and Piggy Wiggly clerk Rosalee Futch (Kate Bosworth) (they could have made it Food Lion) has "won" a date with movie "heartthrob" (PLEASE!) Tad Hamilton. Yes, there is a love triangle, of sorts. And the paradox is that the movie ends as it begins, with watching "The End" of a movie. The Drew film is so much more original! And Brian, for 1/24000 the money, looks so much more manly than Tad.
Wedding Crashers (2005, New Line, dir. David Dobkin, 119 min, R) is a widescreen, big-scale comedy about two guys who break into weddings in order to sleep with girls. That’s how they admit it to look like. There are some ironic techniques, like you show up gaudily dressed and behave in an outrageous manner, because then wedding guests will assume you were invited. The pals are John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn). Okay, John falls for one of the girls Claire (Rachael McAdams). Many of the wedding scenes are detailed and rich to look at, populated with details to fill a 2.3:1 screen. Gradually the comedy moves outdoors, particularly around Washington DC (the last shot in the film is the Washington Monument) and the Chesapeake Bay area around Cambridge, MD on the eastern shore. There are a couple of gay twists: an old lady (Grandma – Ellen Albertini Dow) outs herself as a lesbian at a dinner, and then Treasure Secretary William Cleary (Christopher Walken, who in this movie looks like he could be confused with Jon Voight) calls his artist son Todd (Keir O’Donnell) a “homo.” Well, indeed Todd (who is quite “cute”) lives up to his promise. When one of the girls ties a loosely clothed Jeremy Grey to his bed for some heterosexual S&M, Todd shows up and begins teasing Jeremy, although nothing really “happens” to Jeremy. (There are missed opportunities here for real embarrassment or humiliation.) They show Todd’s painting, which is that of an athlete covered by a fig leaf. Jeremy winds up keeping the painting. The final scene is a busted wedding with a fist fight. We’ve seen weddings fail before (Days of our Lives, Summerland). But, here, all’s well that ends well.
You, Me and Dupree (2006, Universal, dir. Anthony and Joe Russo) show Owen Wilson's embarrassingly ladylike legs. Well, I'm ahead of myself. Mr. Thompson, a land developer (an albinozed and over-the-hill Michael Douglas, still speaking like Gecko from Wall Street), marries off his daughter Molly (Kate Hudson) to Carl Peterson (Matt Dillon), and then sets out to emasculate his son-in-law and, unfortunately for Carl, indentured employee. (He wants the last name hyphenated, and he wants Carl to have a vasectomy; he wants the family lineage in his daughter's name) In the meantime, old friend Dupree (Owen Wilson) has been "sleeping in a bar" and mouches -- even subscribing to HBO. Now Matt Dillon has aged 15 years since his peak in "A Kiss Before Dying" in 1991; the camera sometimes goes out of focus when scoping his body, especially his gams. But Owen Wilson is still in his thirties, yet he looks like Ronnie when the latter takes his pants off in "John Loves Mary." He refuses to get a real job (because that would give in to false power games of the typical capitalist workplace), but he does write poetry, and cook, and twice is said to be a "homo" behind his back, only to tell Carl that the vivisectionist will never get near his tubes. Then he is accused of "moving in" on Molly, just like in a soap opera (when Shawn moves in on Belle in DOOL). He takes up biking and even shaves his legs (he doesn't have to), and even Lance Armstrong will make a cameo appearance. At the end, Dupree (after almost burning the Peterson's) out, becomes a motivational speaker, getting out my Boushkaness. (I think that the movie clip was Roman Holiday.)
Sorority Boys (2002, Touchstone, dir. Wallace Wolodarsky, R. 93 min) has a similar premise. Three frat boys, kicked out of their house, dress in drag and pretend to be sorority girls to get to be with girls. You would expect body shaving rituals and shame, but there is almost none of that shown. The opening scene shows hairy-chested boys approached by a row of men with shaving cream and lard, but the scene evaporates before it gets into the tribunals. Barry Watson, however, looks shaved in the movie, and Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor on Smallville) is unrecognizable. There are comic encounters in the showers, and the boys wear brassieres, and you can imagine what that means. This film is a favorite on comedy cable channels.
Zoolander (2001, Paramount/Village Roadshow, dir. Ben Stiller, 89 min, PG-13) portrays, in comedy, a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia for use of cheap child labor in its garment industry. Now this movie must have been released just pre 9/11, when a friend with whom I worked on my own website had major clients in Malaysia (and remember that the 9/11 plotters had a meeting in Malaysia in early 2001; bad timing!). Ben Stiller plays Derek Zoolander, who, after a string of wins, loses an "academy awards" male modeling contest to a girlish Hanel (Owen Wilson). He mopes, and offers to work in his father's coal mines (sorry, there are no mountains and no coal mines in the south part of the Garden State) and jokes about how nice it would be to help poor underprivileged children learn to read. To someone who has worked in special education classes before, even as a substitute teacher, that isn't funny. Then Derek is persuaded to join the assassination plot--because male models (especially those from "International Male") can't think for themselves; they are programmable machines. Now in most scenes, Ben Stiller appears to have shaved his chest (in fact, his entire body, including arms and legs), especially in the merman (= mermaid) scene. Owen Wilson doesn't have to, although in the rematch break dancing scene his chest is tattooed instead; the Stiller has a wardrobe malfunction, three years before the real one. (Oh, remember, you can't fondle the dancers in DC bars; you could at the Gay Nineties in Minneapolis, and the latter could have made an interesting location for their contest.) There is a lot of queer stereotyping in some scenes. Donald Trump makes a cameo, as do a number of other stars (like Christian Slater). Derrick's boyhood idol Richard Gere is not credited. There is a not-so-funny parody of bulimia. Finally, Derreck gets his kids' charity, as "there is more to life than being really good looking." Really. Lookism. I'm seen better. This film that may have entertained when it opened but now strikes us a bad taste.
Orange County (2002, Paramount/MTV, dir. Jake Kasdan) is a situation comedy whose title sounds like a prequel to "The O.C." but this film is quite silly, even if it has a likeable lead Shaun Brumder (Colin Hanks, not sure of his relation to actor Tom), a geeky high school kid who is not seeaking a Beauty (sorry, Ashton), but has decide that he wants to be a Writer after reading a novel "Straight Jacket" by Stanford prof Marcus Skinner (Kevin Kline). In fact, Shaun has written a novella called "Orange County." The title does not match anything on bn.com, although you would think it should. In fact, he wants to go to Stanford, and would on his grades and SAT and class presidency, except that his dopey guidance counselor mails the wrong transcript. What follows is artificial comedy, pitting him against his clinging family (John Lithgow and Lily Tomlin) and drug-addict brother (Jack Black), who always wants Shaun's piss to get past the probation officer. They go to Stanford and meet the admissions officer, who is quite gay and, when soused, tries to kiss Shaun. (There is a line, "not all writers are gay.") Other slapstick misadventures ensue, such as a fire in a Stanford building cause by the brother Lance.
Old School (2003, Dreamworks/Montecito, dir. Todd Phillips) has three grown men wanting to return to college days buy trying to set up a fraternity on campus. The Dean of Students (Jeremy Priven) will certainly object and try to evict them. It all starts with Mitch (a youthful Luke Wilson, complete with smooth chest that he protects with a blanket) finds out that his girl friend cheats and considers him inadequate. Soon pal Frank (Will Ferrell) in streaking on the streak, while Mitch misbehaves at a party when he spills coffee on a girl's private area and tries to clean her dress in that area (inappropriate). The recruit their college boys for the tribunals, which include having bricks tied too -- and eventually Frank gets a plunger stuck in his juggler vein, an effective scene with the voice effects. An elderly man dies in the trials, and messes up the results. Craig Kilborn and Sean William Scott also appear. There is a great line, "Guys don't tell on other guys; chicks do that."
The Initiation of Sarah (2006, MGM/ABC Family, dir. Stuart Gillard, story by Tom Holland, about 100 min) is a remake of the 1978 ABC TV movie directed by Robert Day. A college girl uses her supernatural gifts during rush to challenge a rival sorority, and winds up on a slab of fire ready for initiation, but the whole climax is a bag of tricks. Mika Boorem (who looks like Beverly Mitchell from 7th Heaven) plays Sarah, and she teases a perfect-10 boyfriend Finn (Ben Ziff), who would have made vulnerable prey on the table if the story went that way. He gets tied up but gets off easy.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006, Columbia, dir. Adam McKay, 124 min, PG-13). I visited Talladega, Alabama myself in 1994 on a warm November weekend, and Charlotte speedway also earlier that year, in April, when Bill Clinton came. The film is a wacky comedy about speedway racing, with Gary Gole as father Reese Bobby, and Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby, who has to have his mouth held up in public speaking engagements. ("Public speaking is easy; lauh a little cry a little, especially at Applebee's, after big events.") Arch rival homosexual Jean Girard (who always talks about his husband), played by Borat's Sacha Baron Cohen, looks decrepit in the bathtub shot with his legs shaved; he is not Tootsie. Jean will gradually overcome Ricky's homophobia along the way. The gags in this movie are so mechanical that they are hard to describe.
Ferrell looks pretty gross in the previews of "Semi-Pro."
Tucker Must Die (2006, 20th Century Fox, dir. Betty Thomas, 90
min, PG-13). The DVD comes with a login to get to the unrated version, which
you can skip, but then the movie is full screen, which seems uncinematic. The comedy is so silly that is is hardly worth mentioning. After basketball jock John
Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe) jilts three girls the same way, another jeune fille sets him up for
revenge. Now Jesse Metcalfe used to be Miguel in the soap Passions, and he
didn't escape the witch. Though he has attractively male hairy arms, his
chest is obviously shaved in Palm Beach circuit party style, and his shaved
legs look absolutely girlish in the locker scenes (let alone on the
basketball court, which hardly comes from One Tree Hill). In fact,
Metcalfe's appearance in this movie is absolutely embarrassing. Girls,
of course, don't notice these things (maybe they aren't as visual as
"men"). John's brother Scott, a chem lab
geek (Baltimore actor Penn Badgley, from TheWB's The Bedford Diaries) looks a lot more
appealing. In a closing scene, Badgley oddly
resembles David Krumholtz (Numb3rs). It's
well to check out the essay "Notes on the Hairless Man" by David
Skinner, The Weekly Standard (a "conservative" periodical),
Knocked Up (2007, Universal, dir. Judd Apatow, 129 min) is an extended, episodic situation comedy that follows the train of its title. Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) is a chubby young man who lives with some groovy bong-hitting roommates (played by Jay Baruchel ("Just Legal"), Martin Starr, Jonah Hill, all playing characters using their real first names -- an odd thing to do here). Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) is a rising star at the E! network, living next to her sister and husband (Paul Rudd). One day, "it" happens, and Ben fails to put the condom on. Pretty soon Alison is vomiting on live TV and everywhere else, and takes the test. She gradually induces the wayfaring Ben to become committed to her. The script gives rise to a lot of conversations and confrontations between men who want the freedom to do their own thing, and wives who want to be the center of attention ("your family") 24 x 7. They do a trip to Vegas and see the Cirque de Soleil, where Rudd's character says of the acrobats, "if I shaved my chest I could look like that." During the Vegas sequence, Alison is denied entrance to a nightclub because she's pregnant, and her aging companion because she's old. The bouncer admits it, just as in the movie "54".
At the end of the film, we get to see a real natural birth, and it does appear that this is real. Apparently the actress really was having a baby. The birth sequence justifies the extra length of the movie.
There is a dangling subplot where Ben and his friends are developing a website that would index the nude shots of actresses in all films, and allow the visitor to go right to the scenes. Then they find out that there is a site that does something like this already, Myskin. Andrew Adam Newman has a story in The New York Times Monday July 24, "Site That Bills Itself a Movie Reviewer Finds that Sex Sells." The article claims that the site provides access to copyrighted film, but that Hollywood has gone along with it as it promotes the movies. The story is here (may require registration and purchase).
Steve Carell makes a cameo as himself, and he looks, over the collar, like he might have done a John Travolta.
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